I was lucky enough to catch all the Blacktown Studio Artists Collective members for an hour as they were beginning to install works for their first exhibition Blank Slate. I had already enjoyed meeting Nazanin Marashian, Jan Cleveringa and Alex Cyreszko; now there was a chance to meet Rosalind Stanley and Susannah Williams before I officially opened their exhibition on Saturday, 5 November 2016.
Each of the five artists was the recipient of a creative residency at Blacktown Arts Centre’s Main Street studios, and some, including Susannah Williams, have had their work exhibited at Blacktown Arts Centre.
I was really struck by the openness and friendliness of each of the artists in discussing their work and ensuring that their installations complemented each other rather than just appear as individual responses to the concept of Blank Slate.
After weeks of culling, archiving and discarding a mass of my own history files up to 45 years old, I was reminded of all sorts of experiences of creative people in those earlier years in Blacktown and across Western Sydney. Isolation and distance were the outstanding characteristics and a longing to share resources and skills and build audiences was a common factor.
By contrast, the newly formed Blacktown Studio Artists Collective is awash with ideas, social and environmental concerns and the stimulus of members sharing and constantly expanding the depth of their enquiries and the audiences they reach.
Do visit Blank Slate at Blacktown Visitor Information and Heritage Centre, Civic Plaza, opposite Blacktown Library, where the exhibition continues until January 28, 2017.
You are bound to find great interest and connection to your own experience.
By Katherine Knight
From left: Jan Cleveringa, Nazanin Marashian, Susannah Williams, Rosalind Stanley and Alex Cyreszko